The Dark Knight Rises really is a descent into the underworldS

There's a fascinating interview with director Christopher Nolan over at Hero Complex. There's a lot of lovely detail about the Cardington sheds, the giant coffin-shaped sheds built 85 years ago outside London, where Nolan has built large chunks of Gotham City, including Arkham Asylum in Batman Begins. For the new movie, Nolan built "a cruel and exotic underground prison" there.

But even more interesting are the hints about the thematic nature of The Dark Knight Rises. Nolan says that his Batman trilogy is literally about different levels — the heights of the city in Batman Begins, the street level in The Dark Knight, and the "underground of caves and sewers" in The Dark Knight Rises. As Nolan explains:

We really wanted a cast of thousands, literally, and all of that for me is trying to represent the world in primarily visual and architectural terms... So the thematic idea is that the superficial positivity is being eaten away from underneath; we tried to make that quite literal.

That "superficial positivity" is the crime-free optimism that took hold after Harvey Dent was declared a martyr and the Harvey Dent Act was passed, leading to eight years of peace and prosperty in Gotham. Until now.

The Dark Knight Rises really is a descent into the underworldS

Other slightly spoilery hints: Hero Complex says Rises contains scenes of politicians behaving badly, financial market abuse, and looting. Those scenes in the trailer where Bruce is sporting a beard and walking with a cane are all from the start of the movie, when he's retired from being Batman. The final reel of Rises contains whiplash-inducing twists and turns, and a huge climax that takes Batman where he's never been before... on screen, at least. Oh, and it's one of Nolan's most "puzzle box" films, that you have to see more than once.

The Dark Knight Rises really is a descent into the underworldS

The other hopeful note: Hero Complex's Geoff Boucher observed the filming of a scene where Nolan kept telling Anne Hathaway to dial back the "supervillain intonations" in her Catwoman performance. The result was something more understated and film noir, that fits in with Nolan's world rather than, say, the Schumacher Batman films.

Update: Oh, and apparently some other early reviews of the film have turned up on Twitter, and they're uniformly positive. Like, along the lines of "best Batman movie yet."

[Hero Complex]